Zoopla Property Group is looking for more potential acquisitions following its surprise announcement that it is buying price comparison website uSwitch.
ZPG founder and chief executive Alex Chesterman has told the Financial Times that he is on the lookout for other acquisition opportunities although that there are no immediate plans for further diversification.
The City welcomed the uSwitch acquisition, with Zoopla’s share price closing up 16.76 per cent yesterday, on a day when the FTSE dipped slightly overall. It was the market's biggest gain over the day, and at one time in the early afternoon the Zoopla share price showed a 17.82 per cent rise.
The acquisition of uSwitch - regarded by many in the consumer press as the most authoritative of the price comparison websites - puts Zoopla into competition with services like Moneysupermarket and Gocompare, as well as pure property portals such as Rightmove and OnTheMarket.
The uSwitch purchase - which with performance-related payments may cost £190m - puts into context the recruitment by Zoopla of Gareth Helm, brand director of Moneysupermarket.
Helm, who was responsible for brand marketing across Moneysupermarket, Travelsupermarket and Moneysavingexpert, will report directly to Alex Chesterman and be responsible for ZPG’s overall marketing strategy.
Meanwhile, Zoopla has released its results for the six months to the end of March, which showed a 23 per cent fall in the number of estate agency members to 12,449.
However, there was an 89 per cent rise in overseas members and a six per cent rise in new-build developer members.
Zoopla says UK agency member churn is returning to normal levels.